Public Buyers

Jisc shares its experience of Mercell UK’s Complete Tender Management platform

Chris Hallahan, Senior Procurement Coordinator at Jisc talks to LUPC’s Reema Shah about why he would recommend Mercell UK’s Complete Tender Management (CTM) system.


Jisc is a LUPC member and a registered charity working on behalf of UK higher education, further education and skills to champion the use of digital technologies.

Mercell UK is a leading source-to-contract eProcurement platform provider in Europe. Their Complete Tender Management (CTM) eSourcing platform is used by hundreds of public sector organisations in the UK, running thousands of tenders and with over 80,000 registered UK suppliers. CTM is an intuitive and easy to use platform allowing for Public Contracts Regulations 2015 compliant, below threshold, and outside regulations tenders.

Jisc has been using CTM since May 2020 for all of its tendering activity and has recently begun utilising the contract management module.

What made you choose Mercell UK?

We chose CTM as the best combination of user experience, functionality and price on the market. Looking at each aspect individually, we noted that there are competitive products on the market, but not all tied up in a single package.

What makes the platform so useful to you as a manager?

The platform is user friendly, so colleagues have been able to adopt it without any significant issues. Because of that, we have been able to channel all of our tendering activity through it, whereas before, only significant tenders were issued through an eTendering portal. In turn, this gives us peace of mind that the fair and transparent processes we have always used is being documented accurately

What was your experience of the technical side of the implementation process?

This was surprisingly smooth. We always expect some snags with a change of this scope, but the problems we encountered were pretty minor, and quickly rectified. The training we were given was comprehensive without being overly detailed, assistance with supplier migration was well-judged and the ongoing support has been very responsive – we’ve never had to wait long for an answer to a query.

Is the system intuitive?

Yes. We found that once the initial setup was completed, and the template processes had been created to match our processes, day to day use has been very straightforward. However, CTM also allows plenty of scope for tweaking and optimising, and this has been easily done without needing direct support from Mercell UK.

What is your favourite feature? What feature do you make the most use of?

It almost seems a minor benefit on the surface of it, but CTM allows you to publish notices within a tender process. In fact, you can publish to two separate places e.g. Contracts Finder, and Find a Tender service integral to your tender. Previously we were publishing contract and award notices directly on those sites; not only do we now no longer have to worry about sorting separate logins, the paperwork is kept within one location, which is excellent.

CTM was developed by procurement experts. Is this evident? Does it speak the same language as the user?

Yes – and I think this probably applies to the private as well as public sector. I think we found this most evident during the implementation of CTM, where our needs seemed to be easily translated by the team at Mercell UK.

Does the platform create spare capacity in your team by devolving tactical low value procurement to operational departments, allowing your team to focus on strategy?

We’re not at this stage yet, but we see no reason why this couldn’t happen. Procurement colleagues have found the system straightforward to use, and we know processes can be controlled which will prevent breaches of protocol, so it’s something we will consider.

Are there any other benefits of CTM you wish to highlight that make your/your teams’ jobs easier?

We’ve recently decided to use the contract management module to house all of our contract information. Whereas before we used two separate systems – one for high-level details, and the other for documentation – we will use CTM as a single repository. So, when a tender process is completed and an award made, this will now flow into the contract management module, providing a seamless and clear picture of the activity, and more easily allowing the team to see when a re-procurement is due.

Mercell UK is the sole supplier on LUPC’s eProcurement System Agreement.